First lady Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci were greeted by a group of protesters as they rolled into Harlem on Sunday to visit a COVID-19 vaccine center, with most directing their ire at the nation’s lead immunologist.
Video posted to social media shows the first lady’s motorcade being led by an NYPD squad car hurrying past a small group of demonstrators, one of whom belted out on a megaphone, “Fauci, you got your talking points from the CCP!” — a reference to the Chinese Communist Party.
Others in the group can be seen chanting, “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!”
Warning: Strong language
— Scootercaster (@ScooterCasterNY) June 6, 2021
The protest comes on the heels of published reports last week casting new doubts about Fauci’s leadership regarding his recommended responses to the pandemic. Emails obtained by Buzzfeed News and The Washington Post showed that Fauci was informed in February 2020 that COVID-19 likely escaped from China’s only Level 4 bio-research lab in Wuhan and that he did not believe masks would mitigate the spread of the virus.
“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material,” he wrote in February 2020. “It might, however, provide some slight benefit (to) keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you.”
The same month, Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research alerted the NIAID director that the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which his agency and the National Institutes of Health have reportedly funded, via third-party organizations, for years.
“On a phylogenetic tree the virus looks totally normal and the close clustering with bats suggest that bats serve as the reservoir,” wrote Andersen. “The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered.”
Fauci, instead, repeatedly touted the theory that the virus jumped from an animal to humans.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,” Fauci argued in a May 2020 interview with National Geographic.
But former Food and Drug Administration administration Scott Gottlieb has said that Fauci told world leaders in the spring of 2020 that the virus may very well have escaped the lab.
“I think early on, when they looked at the strain, they had suspicions,” the former FDA chief under President Donald Trump told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “And it takes time to do that analysis, and that dispelled some of those suspicions.”
He added that the virus should also be looked at through the lens of “national security.”
“A national security assessment looks at that and then looks at the behavior of the Chinese government, the behavior of the lab, other evidence around the lab – including the infections we now know took place – and that changes the overall assessment,” he added.
In an appearance last week on MSNBC, Fauci complained to host Rachel Maddow that criticisms of his actions in managing the pandemic were not rooted in science.
“I’m concerned about that more because it’s really very much an attack on science, I think,” Fauci said.
“It’s important to understand” where the virus came from, he went on. “But it’s being approached in a very vehement way, in a very distorted way, by attacking me. I think the question is extremely legitimate; you should wanna know how this happened so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
In Harlem, Biden and Fauci linked up with New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to observe as people received COVID-19 vaccines in the basement of the Abyssinian Baptist Church.
“We’re going to end this outbreak with absolute certainty and the vehicle to ending it is vaccination,” Fauci told a small group of reporters inside the church. “And that’s why I’m so impressed by being here and so honored to be here.”
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